Wednesday, December 26, 2012

President Obama – Fiscal Cliff Drives Him Off Hawaii and Back to Washington – Low Consumer Confidence Blamed on Fiscal Cliff – Never Mind Inflation, Job Market…

Black Friday Shopping in U.S. - image and article from Reuters "Lots of shopping left to do, less left to spend: Reuters/Ipsos poll" - from 12/12/12

From: New England Cable News: The President has cut short his Hawaii vacation to come back to D.C. to deal with the “Fiscal Cliff”. Apparently with expiring tax cuts middle-income households will find themselves $2000 shorter in 2013, without the extension of the hated Bush Tax Cuts. Additionally gone will be the mortgage deduction, a huge help to low to middle income families. The article indicates that there may be room for negotiations on this particular issue. It’s in the Senate now, however, and that’s the Democrat Controlled body with Harry Reid at the helm. In other words, that’s anyone’s guess, as Reid has refused to vote on any of the House Bills. Go figure.

But what about the fiscal cliff and consumers?

According to Newsday worried shoppers spent a great deal less this Holiday season, the blame for this goes to the following three events: The Fiscal Cliff, the Shooting at Sandy Hook, and the Hurricane that hit the East Coast – two of which most people paid some attention to, the first – only individuals who watch the news. (A note on the Storm that hit the East Coast and Sandy Hook, two tragedies that were horrifying and heart wrenching , however, the Eastern Seaboard does not count as the Wealth Belt. There is more income in Chicago, the Midwest, Texas, Northern California, etc. etc., to surely make a dent in Retail woes.) The fact that the nation still is experiencing a high unemployment rate has inflation in food and fuel, which makes it difficult for families to survive on low to middle incomes, apparently doesn’t count.

Frankly, to blame the shooting at Sandy Hook School on a lack of Christmas spirit is – disgusting. The fact that people have not gone overboard, or have not taken one extra debt (mimicking the Federal Government) is more likely due to the fact that there just isn’t much to go around. One has to make choices, one eats, pays the bills and drives to work, or one buys more for Christmas. The concept that more is better under the Christmas Tree, is perhaps over-rated, as families that celebrate the season within the confines of religion, are perhaps less crazy about spending and more vested in the spirit of the season, which works to an economic advantage. The Yankee Swap is more prevalent with extended families. There are homemade gifts, food, and such, which have replaced the trip to the mall, but are more appreciated, especially if one has a talent in the kitchen. Be that as it may, the big concern from most is twofold – the first is the expiring Bush Tax Credits, the second is the fact that the IRS may not have tax forms ready to file until March.

So the pomp, circumstance, staging and political area that is the Fiscal Cliff, is nothing more than that. The two major parties, mucking around and trying to show their best side to the nation, without doing much more than that – the U.S. has not had a budget in years – consistently kicked down the road by Harry & Co. in the Senate. Perhaps if they had passed a budget low those many years ago (2009), then we’d be in less of a pickle today.

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